Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Most Popular Real Estate Scams One Needs to Avoid


Most Popular Real Estate Scams One Needs to Avoid

The pressure that comes with purchasing a property is excellent. Additionally, you always want to move quickly when you find the ideal home in a competitive real estate market. Unfortunately, scammers frequently exploit this situation by deceiving prospective homeowners into paying for homes that don't exist or misrepresenting the purchase's conditions.

Fortunately, there are steps you may take to protect yourself from real estate scams. But, first, you can better defend yourself if you know some typical real estate frauds.

Most popular Real estate scams to avoid:

1. Escrow wire fraud:

You receive instructions on whether to wire your escrow funds through email, phone call, or text message from a person posing as a title or escrow firm representative. Fraudsters create bogus websites that resemble the title or financing firm you're dealing with to give the impression that they're the real deal. Scammers use spoofing techniques to make phone numbers, websites, and email addresses seem familiar. However, in these situations, one number or letter is frequently incorrect, which is simple to overlook at first glance, according to some experts.

If you naively follow the wire instructions and presume everything is fine, you might discover that you've just become the newest escrow fraud, victim. The con artists will have taken the money out of an offshore account and are now leaving with your hard-earned money. Unfortunately, there aren't many possibilities for returning it in the interim.

How to safeguard oneself:

Return to the original paperwork you received from your lender and call the numbers mentioned there to confirm the wire instructions you received before sending money to a third party. According to experts, never click on email or text links or send money online without validating the wiring instructions with a live person on the phone from a number you have contacted and verified.

Odeta Kushi, a deputy chief economist at First American Financial Corporation, warns, "Be suspicious of any email or text asking a change to wire instructions you currently have." Always double-check the escrow account number before transferring cash, and call your settlement agent as soon as you're finished to confirm the transfer of the funds, she advises.

2. Predatory lending and loan flipping:

When a dishonest lender convinces a homeowner to refinance their mortgage repeatedly, frequently borrowing more money each time, this is referred to as loan flipping. As a result, the homeowner is forced to make more significant loan payments they cannot afford after being tricked into borrowing the majority of their home's equity, according to experts, who also note that the con artist charges hefty fees and points with each transaction.

Because they frequently have large amounts of home equity and may not be aware that they are being taken advantage of, experts notes seniors with cognitive impairment are particularly vulnerable to these types of Real estate scams. Predatory lenders persuade homeowners that they can assist them in obtaining a better loan product or utilize a cash-out refinance to pay for residence improvements to make their houses more accessible while they age in place.

How to safeguard oneself:

Elderly homeowners with cognitive problems should involve a reliable family member or friend in any meaningful financial conversations, especially ones involving choices about their mortgage. According to experts, when you've just finished a mortgage refinance, it's typically not in your best interest to do another deal immediately.

Another red flag is that something is wrong if predatory lenders actively try to contact you without your request. Work solely with reputable banks or lenders and inquire about any costs or penalties being offered to you, advises experts. 

Lenders must provide loan estimates and closing disclosures, including a complete breakdown of all fees and third-party expenditures. If you're refinancing your mortgage, thoroughly read these documents or have a dependable advisor do it.

3. Fraudulent listings and rental fraud:

Scammers routinely create rental property advertisements on Craigslist or social media to entice unwary renters, occasionally stealing images from other postings. The fraudsters, unrelated to the home's owner or owner of the scam, will demand a deposit or up-front payment before allowing you to view the property. They use dubious methods to obtain quick cash and frequently succeed.

Rental fraud is alarmingly prevalent. An estimated 5.5 million renters in the United States have lost money due to rental scams, according to ApartmentList data. One in three of them suffered losses of over $1,200. A whole section of the FTC website is devoted to real estate scams since the issue is so pervasive.

How to safeguard oneself:

The FTC advises tenants to become knowledgeable about such real estate scams when looking for a new home. Additionally, it advises tenants to do their homework and obtain a written contract outlining all the terms and conditions of their lease.

Be wary of anyone who requests a cash deposit upfront to view a property, advises agent Nicole Durosko in New York City. Before negotiating rental conditions or visiting a property, ensure you're working with the owner. To find out who the current owner is and seek contact information online, try searching the website of the neighbourhood property appraiser. 

Avoid conducting purchases over the phone or by email, advises Durosko. To ensure that you get a receipt for every payment, Durosko advocates using a check rather than cash. Finally, if someone claims to be the owner's representative, always insist on interacting with the owner before signing a contract or sending money. 

If somebody asserts to be a real estate broker, request to see their license and take a photo of it so you can check the details online through your state's real estate licensing division, advises Durosko.


Real estate scams might be frightening, but if you understand what to look for, you can spot a scammer when you encounter one. First, it's crucial to understand who you're dealing with in any real estate transaction. 

Make every effort to confirm an individual's identification and review all banking activities again. Keep thorough records of every trade if you need to check them later and lodge an objection.

Also Read: Data Center Transformation: Barriers to Progress

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